Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes Loses Bid to Dismiss Criminal Charges
A federal judge in California on Tuesday denied bids by Theranos Inc. founder Elizabeth Holmes and former top executive Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani to dismiss the criminal charges they face in connection with the disgraced blood-testing startup.
周二，加利福尼亚州的一名联邦法官拒绝了Theranos Inc.的竞标。创始人伊丽莎白·霍姆斯(Elizabeth Holmes)和前高管拉梅什·“桑尼”·巴尔瓦尼(Ramesh“Sunny”Balwani)驳回了他们因与这家声名狼藉的血液测试初创公司有关而面临的刑事指控。
Ms. Holmes, 36 years old, is set to go to trial March 9 on charges she and Mr. Balwani defrauded investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars and deceived patients by lying about the reliability of Theranos blood tests. Mr. Balwani will face trial separately at a later date.
Both have pleaded not guilty to two counts of wire-fraud conspiracy and 10 counts of wire fraud. If convicted, they could face up to 20 years in prison.
Lawyers for Ms. Holmes didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A lawyer for Mr. Balwani declined to comment.
Ms. Holmes and Mr. Balwani were charged in June 2018 by federal prosecutors in the Northern District of California. The indictments followed a yearslong investigation that grew out of articles in The Wall Street Journal that revealed failings in Theranos’s technology and business practices.
When they announced the charges, prosecutors in San Francisco alleged that Ms. Holmes and Mr. Balwani knew their finger-prick technology was flawed and unreliable and yet drew in reporters, investors, doctors and patients with false promises and solicitations.
The trial was first set for June 2019, then pushed to summer 2020. In April, after the coronavirus pandemic brought a halt to jury trials, Ms. Holmes’s trial was pushed back again. In July, the grand jury returned new indictments that expanded and clarified the alleged schemes, in part reflecting a decision earlier this year in which U.S. District Judge Edward J. Davila said doctors couldn’t be considered victims of the alleged fraud.
Lawyers for Ms. Holmes and Mr. Ballwani had sought to have the charges dismissed on the grounds that prosecutors had taken too long to file the new indictments and that some of the alleged misconduct was too old. The defense also argued that the indictments didn’t provide enough explanation of the charges.
In a response filed last month, prosecutors said the allegations were clear from the initial charges, which they said “described the type of misrepresentations, half-truths and omissions made to investors to perpetuate the fraud.”
Judge Davila, in his order Tuesday, said the new indictments had clarified issues with the previous charges. He also noted that the pandemic had delayed grand jury proceedings, and moreover “continues to pose a significant hurdle to conducting a jury trial—especially for a case of this complexity.” Ms. Holmes’ trial, he said, was expected to last three months.